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Jewelry History Terms

Art Deco:

A design style popular in the 1920s and 1930s characterized by geometric shapes, bold colors, and intricate detailing. Slight references to Asian & Egyptian symbols.

Art Nouveau:

An artistic movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries characterized by flowing lines, natural motifs, and a focus on craftsmanship.


A style prevalent in the 17th and 18th centuries known for ornate, grandiose designs and intricate detailing.


A decorative belt hook or clasp with chains to which small items such as watches or keys were attached, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.


A decorative technique involving the use of colored enamel separated by metal wires, often seen in antique jewelry.

Edwardian Era:

The period from 1901 to 1910, characterized by delicate and feminine jewelry designs named after King Edward VII of England.


An ornament attached to a pocket watch chain, often used for decorative or practical purposes.

Georgian Era:

The period from 1714 to 1837, named after the four King Georges of England, known for intricate and sentimental jewelry designs.

Hair Jewelry:

Jewelry made from human or animal hair, popular in the 19th century as a sentimental keepsake.

Marquise Cut:

A gemstone cut with an elongated shape and pointed ends, popular in antique jewelry.

Mourning Jewelry:

Jewelry created to commemorate a deceased loved one, often featuring black materials like jet or onyx.

Pendant Watch:

A small watch designed to be worn as a pendant on a necklace, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


A metalworking technique in which a design is raised in relief by hammering from the reverse side.

Seed Pearl:

Tiny pearls often used in antique jewelry, especially during the Victorian era.


A decorative pin with a long, slender design, often used to secure neckties or lapels.

Toi et Moi Ring:

A ring featuring two gemstones, symbolizing "you and me" in French, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Victorian Era:

The period from 1837 to 1901, named after Queen Victoria of England, known for elaborate and sentimental jewelry designs.

Watch Fob Chain:

A chain worn from a pocket watch to a vest pocket, often with decorative elements like medallions or charms.

Wax Seal Jewelry:

Jewelry featuring a seal engraved in wax, often used for personal or family crests.

Etruscan Revival:

A design style popular in the 19th century, inspired by ancient Etruscan jewelry characterized by granulation and intricate metalwork.


The process of incising a design onto metal, often seen in antique jewelry for personalization and decoration.


A black mixture of sulfur, copper, silver, and lead used to create designs on metal, popular in ancient and antique jewelry.

Ancient Jewelry:

Jewelry created during ancient civilizations, often characterized by symbolic motifs and the use of precious metals and gemstones.

Arts and Crafts Movement:

An artistic and social movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries promoting handmade craftsmanship and a return to artisanal methods.

Retro (or Retro Modern) Era:

The period from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, characterized by bold designs, large gemstones, and the influence of World War II on jewelry materials.

Renaissance Jewelry:

Jewelry from the 14th to the 17th centuries, known for intricate designs, religious motifs, and the use of gemstones and pearls.


An 18th-century artistic movement characterized by ornate, playful, and asymmetrical designs, influencing jewelry styles of the time.

Romantic Era:

The early to mid-19th century, marked by jewelry designs reflecting sentiments, love, and nature, often featuring symbolic motifs.

Mid-Century Modern:

A design style prevalent from the 1940s to the 1960s, known for clean lines, simplicity, and the use of innovative materials.

Tribal Jewelry:

Jewelry created by indigenous or tribal communities, often characterized by symbolic motifs and the use of natural materials.

Belle Époque:

The period from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, known for elegant and refined jewelry designs reflecting optimism and prosperity.

Regency Era:

The early 19th century, characterized by Neoclassical designs, delicate pieces, and a return to ancient Greek and Roman influences.

Modernist Jewelry:

Jewelry created during the mid-20th century, reflecting abstract and avant-garde design principles.

Contemporary Jewelry:

Jewelry created in the present day, characterized by a wide range of styles, materials, and artistic expressions.